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New Vatican Body Will Deal with Jews; Definition of Functions Expected

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An exact definition of what the functions will be of the special Vatican Secretariat for non-Christians–the formation of which was announced yesterday by Pope Paul VI–is expected to be given tomorrow by Paolo Cardinal Marella, who was named by the Pope to head the new secretariat, it was stated here today.

Thus far there was no indication that the planned statement by the Ecumenical Council, declaring that the Jewish people should not be blamed for the crucifixion of Jesus, will be dealt with by the new secretariat, which will parallel the Secretariat for Christian Unity of which Cardinal Bea is the head. However, it is considered likely that the new body will collaborate with Cardinal Bea’s secretariat, which is now handling the Jewish question.

The statement declaring that Jews are not guilty of the crucifixion of Jesus will no longer be a part of Chapter IV of the Christian unity schema, as was the case when it was presented to the Ecumenical Council last year. A draft of this statement has now been prepared for circulation to the 2, 300 Cardinals, archbishops and bishops who will attend the forthcoming session of the Ecumenical Council in September, and will be acted upon by the Council as a separate declaration.

The formation of the new Secretariat for non-Christian religions, announced by the Pontiff yesterday, will make it possible to invite representatives of non Christian faiths as observers to the September session of the Ecumenical Council, it was indicated here today. A Vatican spokesman said that the new secretariat will deal with Jewish and other non-Christian groups. Until now, Cardinal Bea’s Secretariat for Christian Unity had the jurisdiction over questions concerning Catholic-Jewish relations.

Cardinal Marella, the 70-year-old head of the new secretariat, has been for about 40 years in the Vatican’s foreign service. He was apostolic delegate to Japan for 15 years. He also served as Papal Muncio in France. The Italian prelate is archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica.

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